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What is include in my home inspection with Quality Home Inspections of East Tennessee?


Attic


Crawlspace/Basement

Electrical / HVAC


Grading


Plumbing

Roofing

We have to be careful as home inspectors to spell out what is required in our home inspections and what is not. When you read the list of things not included in the typical pre-inspection agreement you may be wondering - just what does a home inspection cover?

As with all home inspection companies, Quality Home Inspections does a visual inspection of the property. This means that everything that can be seen with the eye that is determined to be a deficiency will be in the report. Items that are behind walls or require special testing are not within the scope of a home inspection. Below, I go over just what a typical inspection covers with Quality Home Inspections.

Moisture Issues

I start my inspections on the outside of the home, first looking at the house as a whole. I look for issues with the grade. I ask questions as I go. Does it look like water could flow into the home, are the downspouts steering the water far away enough from the house, are there signs of water damage already, etc.
Rotting wood next to chimney
In this attic photo water appeared to be coming in around the chimney. Notice the moisture damage to the wood.

Moisture is the biggest enemy of the home. It only takes about a 20 percent moisture level in wood for it to begin to deteriorate. Water running into a basement area not only can hurt the home's structure but can also cause mold and mildew.

Mold Issues

If I see any indication of mold, I will put it in the report, usually with photos of the area in question, even though it is not technically in the scope of the inspection. To determine whether or not a home is without a doubt infected with mold requires special testing. I report that I see a possible mold issue and recommend testing to confirm that suspicion. I'll be looking for issues that cause mold such as leaky pipes, water intrusion, evidence of moisture problems, etc.

Roof Inspection

I'll also be looking at the roof while I'm outside and the condition of the shingles. I'll be asking if there are any indications of water leaking through the roof. I recently inspected a detached garage with a flat roof and a deck installed on top. This construction literally trapped water the roof of the garage, underneath the deck, and a look at the open ceiling on a ladder revealed dampness and apparent mold. A test with a moisture meter confirmed there was a high degree of moisture in the ceiling.

While I'm looking at the roof, usually from atop my ladder or walking on the roof top, I'll  also be checking out the flashing and the vent pipes.


Here we have tree limbs growing over the sides of a roof contributing to clogged rain gutters and leaves standing on the roof which can hold moisture on the roof and cause damage to the roofing system over time.

Basement Inspection

I'll be going through the basement or crawl space looking at the walls and the plumbing that is visible underneath the floor. I'll also be looking at any visible insulation. Pests are beyond the scope of the home inspection; however, if I observe any evidence of an infestation, I will write it in my report, usually along with photos, and recommend a pest control expert take a look.

I'll be looking for evidence of water intrusion, especially along the walls, that I identified to having a poor negative grade on the outside during my outside inspection. 

I'll be constantly piecing together information obtained from the individual areas of my inspection with another, the way a detective puts together clues to solve a mystery. One defect in many cases can lead to another, such as one house I recently inspected where cracks in the porch led to water causing damage to the basement ceiling below.

Electrical Panel Inspection

I'll be opening up the home's electrical panel and looking at the wiring for signs of a previous fire, whether there are double taps, appropriate sized wires, grounding, tampering by someone that was not a qualified electrician, empty slots, correct labeling, etc. I also inspect sub panels the same way.

I'll be testing the GFCI outlets as well as all the other outlets in the home. The requirements are for testing a representative number in each room, but I personally like go ahead and test every outlet I see with my socket tester.

Plumbing Inspection
I'll be looking at the plumbing for evidence of leaks under the home during the basement inspection. I'll also turn on the water faucets in the home to test the functional flow and functional drainage and to see if there are any water hammers. I'll be looking under the sinks to see if there are any evidence of leaks there. I'll also check around the toilets to see if there are any apparent leaks after flushing.  I also inspect the water heater.  More on plumbing.

Attic Inspection

I'll be visually looking at the attic for signs of water intrusion or any signs of deterioration. I'll be looking to make sure the attic is insulated well, and if there are any other problems like vents that improperly vent out into the attic.

Interior of the Home

I'll of course be walking through every room of the home looking at the general condition of the floors, walls, windows, and ceilings as I check the outlets. You'd be surprised how easy it is for the average home buyer to miss a water stain on a ceiling.

And, of course, I'll be looking at the condition of the heat and air system as well .

The Unexpected

The biggest thing I'll be looking for is the unexpected defect. You never know what surprising issue that may come up that demands the attention of the home inspector. There's always something interesting and unusual that is unique to that particular home inspection. For instance, I looked behind an air filter the other day and found a small amount of building debris of unknown origin. There were no signs of damage along the walls, but nonetheless it was obviously in need of cleaning, if nothing else, and raised some interesting questions as where the debris had originally came from.

 If I see anything out of the ordinary or that I consider suspect, I will put it in my report.

To schedule a home inspection in the Knoxville, Tennessee area call
 

Quality Home Inspections serves the East Tennessee area of Roane, Loudon, Knox, Anderson, and Cumberland counties which includes the cities of Knoxville, Oak Ridge, Kingston, Harriman, Rockwood, Oliver Springs, Midtown, Lenoir City, and Crossville, Tennessee.